Because I am a Girl: So, what about boys?
This new publication by Plan International is the fifth in a series of annual reports examining the rights of girls throughout their childhood, adolescence and as young women.
This report shows that gender is also about boys and men, and that this needs to be better understood if we are going to have a positive impact on societies and economies.
Men and boys are still the main decision makers in relationships, families, communities, businesses and governments, so it is essential to include them if we are to reach gender equality and foster opportunities both for women and men.Youth summary of the report, p. 5 Fathers, husbands, brothers, and boyfriends all have a role to play, and education at all ages and stages is key.Summary of the Report, p. 3
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“In countries of the North and in Latin America and the Caribbean, boys are now dropping out of school at a faster rate than girls.”
“Young men are less likely to visit a doctor or a clinic or to seek information about their health: 60 per cent of men and boys aged 15-24 do not have accurate and comprehensive knowledge about HIV and how to avoid transmission.”
Focus on: working with boys and menPlan 2011 Report, pp. 26-27
One important aspect covered by the report is how the legal framework has evolved / should evolve to require equal responsibilities and rights between women and men in all spheres of life. Some of the developments include:
- Sharing duties: the 2009 Commission on the Status of Women called for government action to ensure that men and boys are actively involved in all policies and programmes that aim to involve the equal sharing of responsibilities with women and girls
- Improving health: numerous studies have provided solid evidence that engaging men in reproductive health programmes and HIV prevention initiatives leads to better health outcomes and promotes gender equality – for example in 2008, the Ministry of Health of Mali approved a national programme to involve men in reproductive health.
- Equal partners and parents: Courts are increasingly ensuring that the equal rights and responsibilities of partners in marriages and also the equal responsibility of parents to their children, regardless of the parents’ marital status – for example the 2010 Kenyan Constitution ensures that mothers and fathers have equal parental rights and responsibilities, regardless of whether the child was born in or out of wedlock; in Chile , a 2009 law institutionalised the Childhood Social Protection System that promotes more participation of fathers in childcare, pregnancy and birth.
- Workplace flexibility: more and more governments are trying to ensure paid and parental leave, work-family balance and more equitable sharing of family and caregiving responsibilities – for example in Brazil, several states offer one month paid paternity leave for fathers at the time of birth; in Spain , the 2007 Gender Equality Law provides for 15 days of paternity leave for fathers, to be increased to a month in 2013. Finally, a 2010 study of workplace benefits showed that 178 countries out of 190 guaranteed some form of leave for new fathers.
- Access the report (in English)